Abigail Disney, Walt Disney's niece and an opponent of excessive CEO salaries, blasted Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, over the low salaries paid company employees.
Iger earned $66 million in 2018 while the median salary of the average Disney employee was a paltry $46,127, which is close to the poverty line. Disney has long found this unconscionable and last March said CEOs like Iger don't have the right to receive salaries that are 500 times higher than the average salaries of their employees.
Abigail owns a few Disney shares and isn't involved in any company operations.
Her anger was inflamed recently when she decided to uncover the true state of Disneyland's workers after an employee sent her a Facebook message. She said every employee she met told her the same complaint: "I don't know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people's garbage."
She said the visit left her "so livid" because the company doesn't respect its employees enough to give them a living wage.
She said Iger, whom she frequently criticizes for his enormous salary, needs to fix the huge wage gap between his pay and that of an average worker at Disneyland.
"Bob needs to understand that he is an employee just the same as the people scrubbing gum off the sidewalk are employees, and they're entitled to the same dignity and human rights that he is," she said.
She said Iger hasn't replied to her emails about her complaints.
"You know, your legacy is that you're a great manager," said Disney. "And if I were you, I would want something better than that. I would want to be known as the guy who led to a better place because that is what you have the power to do.
In April, she tweeted, "by any objective measure, a pay ratio over a thousand is insane" in criticism of Iger's pay. She addressed Congress in May, saying, "We need to change the way we understand and practice capitalism."
She told members of a House committee that companies should deliver returns to shareholders "without trampling on the dignity and rights of their employees."
She also highlighted her historic opposition to obscenely high CEO salaries by stating, "If your CEO salary is at the 700, 600, 500 times your median workers' pay, there is nobody on Earth, Jesus Christ himself isn't worth 500 times his median workers' pay."
Along with 200 other millionaires living in New York, Disney asked lawmakers to introduce a "millionaires' tax" on households earning more than $5 million. The money from this tax will help fund affordable housing, infrastructure, and other initiatives.
Disney, 59, still thinks corporate America is being paid too much. The U.S. must make structural changes to the economy by taxing the wealthy more, she said.